Within the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Specialist Group onthe Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) seeks:

  • to investigate the interface between humanity and nature;

  • to promote the integrated management of the natural and cultural heritage;

  • to harmonise cultural and spiritual aspirations with the conservation of nature.

In this context, the Delos Initiative focuses on the sacred natural sites in developed countries throughout the world (such as Australia, Canada, the European countries, Japan, New Zealand and the United States of America). Its main purpose is to help in maintaining both the sanctity and the biodiversity of these sites, through the understanding of the complex relationship between spiritual / cultural and natural values.

The concept of “sacred natural site” is used –both in the framework of the Delos Initiative and of the CSVPA Specialist Group– as a catchword to cover a diversity of types of areas and nuances. These can be translated in the main world languages with quite different terms (such as holy places, inviolable sanctuaries, sacred precincts, spiritual sites, dream sites, places of power and various others).


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 Last updated 07 October 2019